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As yen goes down, number of tourists to Japan goes up
Publication Date : 20-08-2013
As the yen keeps slipping and sliding, the number of Taiwanese travelling to Japan reached 1.11 million over the first half of the year, 1.5 times as many as in the same period last, according to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau.
Travel agencies estimate that the trend will continue throughout the rest of 2013, during which maple viewing and hot spring tours reach their peak in popularity, leading to a total of 2 million Taiwanese visitors this year.
The Japanese economy, which has been largely stagnant for two decades, has expanded under Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's so-called Abenomics, which won him a return to office last December.
Among Abe's economic policies is a push to weaken the yen so as to boost Japanese exports. The weakened currency has also decreased accommodation and other living expenses, leading to the rise in travel to Japan.
Chen, Zi-jia, manager of the Best Way Travel, said that although basic costs have been lowered, the cost of flight tickets has risen by 13-15 per cent.
“Japanese travel has swept over Taiwan this year,” said Spunk Tour Chairman Chen Shu-zhuang.
According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, Taiwanese travellers in Japan have numbered over 900,000 people in June alone, surpassing the number of South Korean visitors to become the biggest source of foreign tourists.
According to a Nielson survey of Taiwanese people, 83 per cent of respondents said they would like to go on a trip to Japan.
Seventy-nine per cent said they are drawn to Japan because of its natural beauty, while 76 per cent said the same of its local culture, 69 per cent of its sanitary environment, 68 per cent of its cuisine and 64 per cent were interested in visiting because of the historical buildings and old-style streets.
A different study by the Japan Interchange Association found that Japan was the favourite country of 43 per cent of Taiwanese, more even than the US.
Fewer Japanese tourists to Taiwan
Japanese tourists to Taiwan, however, have decreased to 660,606 over the first half of 2013 - a fall of around 8 per cent compared to last year, the Tourism Bureau said. Over 1.4 million Japanese sightseers travelled to Taiwan last year.
The bureau said the falling number should serve as a warning to local tourism operators. Officials said the drop-off is likely due to the weakened currency, which means Japanese currently prefer domestic travel to international trips. Japanese tourist numbers to other countries have also dropped.